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Lilith Mass Market Paperback – May 19 1981


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; New edition edition (May 19 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802860613
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802860613
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 10.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #254,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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I HAD JUST FINISHED my studies at Oxford, and was taking a brief holiday from work before assuming definitely the management of the estate. Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A.J. on June 11 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The arena of twentieth century British Christian fiction, which includes authors from Chesterton to Auden to C.S. Lewis, appears to owe a great deal to George MacDonald, whose Victorian fantasy as demonstrated in "Lilith" has a primitive and dark undercurrent. Nightmarish yet optimistic, "Lilith" is possibly the most vivid life-after-death parable since Dante's Divine Comedy.
The protagonist and first-person narrator is an excitable man named Mr. Vane who lives in an old house that has been in his family for generations. One day he notices an odd creature making its way through the library; this turns out to be the birdlike Mr. Raven, who introduces him to a mysterious world beyond a magic mirror stored in the garret of the house. A more modern author might be tempted to give this world a name to distinguish it from the real one, but to MacDonald it is merely an extension of Mr. Vane's conscience.
Mr. Vane is understandably frightened of but fascinated by this world. Part of it appears to be a realm of the Dead where skeletal apparitions dance and fight as though they were still living; part a forest where stupid, brutal giants and innocent, benevolent "little ones" share their habitats; part a murky moor where leopardesses roam in search of babies to eat and enchanting women are to be found. At the center of this world, embodying its evil, commanded by an entity known as the "Shadow," is the demon princess Lilith, a direct allusion to the Assyrian goddess and to the legend of Adam's first wife.
As a guide to this netherworld, Mr. Raven acts as a kind of Virgil to Mr. Vane's Dante; the structure of the story has a vague analogy to the sequence of Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise. Mr.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark DeBolt on Dec 4 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
All of MacDonald's work is interesting, but Lilith is by far the best. It's a pity that some who only know his stories for children are not sufficiently moved to read Lilith, a very adult, dark, poetic, delightful excursion into uncharted regions of the human soul. A truly unique and worthy classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Extollager on Jan. 17 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The real _masterpieces_ of fantasy, as opposed to the "entertaining reads," are not numerous. This is one of the masterpieces. It is not a perfect book, but it belongs in the company of the greatest, such as
The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion (Tolkien); Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength, and Till We Have Faces (Lewis); The Man Who Was Thursday (Chesterton); A Wizard of Earthsea (Le Guin); The Owl Service (Garner); Titus Groan and Gormenghast (Peake)... books of that caliber.
Don't miss MacDonald's magnificent tales such as "The Day Boy and the Night Girl" and "The Golden Key."
Read MacDonald's Lilith. If you are so moved, read it in conjunction with the detailed, free study guide available at the MacDonald "Golden Key" website:
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By Decano on March 24 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Superb. To enter this is to taste the Christian imagination that fired CS Lewis. This is mysticism taking literary flight. The ineffable strains for words and finds MacDonald audaciously humble to glean them as the Another slips by.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I first read this book in 1981 after picking it up at a yard sale. It was old, wrinkled, the pages were yellowed and tattered, the cover dark and uninviting. And yet I, who had always preferred the pristine even in library books, bought it. I was at a very low point in my life and was looking for "something different" to read. To this day I believe that I was meant to find it, for it had such a profound effect on my way of thinking. I didn't 'connect" it with heaven and hell, had never heard of George MacDonald and did not know he was a minister until I had finished the book and wanted to know more about him and his other works.

I say all this because as I read the book (or more accurately, absorbed it), its words,images,creatures and surreal atmosphere seemed to enter my very being - my soul, if you will, and I could not put it down until I came to the end. It was magical, mystical, and helped me to realize that there was so much more to life than my self and my point of view. For over 15 years I kept it on my shelf before deciding to read it a second time. This experience was very different, and I connected with the narrative on a much more spiritual level (my life had become more focused and I was more "ready" for the message).

I am now ready for a third reading---the only book thus far that has called me back three times. I am very interested to see what I will find this time. I can say with all my being that, if you only read one of George MacDonald books, it should be this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jenni on June 7 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Breaking with my normal bias and preferences in the written word, I really enjoyed this little book in spite of the fact that the storyline is incredibly bizarre, fragmented and difficult to resolve in many places. This book is not for everyone.
Lilith is built upon a very old myth about the first wife of Adam-an angelic being-who was said to have been very rebellious and eventually was replaced by the more subservient human Eve (Lewis also references this myth in "That Hideous Strength"). I am not altogether certain where or how the story originated except that the Hebrew word which is translated "night specter" is lilyt, which must have somehow given rise to the story about the female demon who seeks to over power men. At points in the MacDonald narrative Adam reverts to King James old English in addressing Lilith, a touch I found a little disturbing. While the character of Lilith embodies the flesh in all of us-not just women-the use of the KJV linguistic style between Adam and Lilith seemed to adhere to the perceived rightness and superiority of the male-oriented theology of the middle ages (when the original myth was likely to have gained momentum as a means of shaming women into more subservient roles).
MacDonald uses this ancient myth to create a fantastic tale about the battle between spirit and flesh but in the telling he divulges vast philosophical/theological thoughts that take considerable energy to wade through. In the absence of realism, the philosophical core makes up for other narrative flaws. But, it's a very difficult story to read and absorb quickly. I made it about ¾ of the way through several months ago but was only able to pick it up again to finish recently.
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